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Old 12-05-11, 12:10 PM   #1
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Short rear fenders on folders

What's with all the short and undersized rear fenders that come with most of the bikes out there? The short fenders still allow plenty of rain to spash up your back versus full-sized fenders.

I originally extended the fender on my Downtube 9NS with black duct tape and then bought and installed the Xootr Swift fenders (made by PlanetBike) which worked GREAT. I moved it to my Downtube 8H when the NS bit the dust. Still great.

The only downside is that I can't lean my bike back as much when rolling it around on one wheel.

Even the new Terns including the ones approaching $2000 have these short fenders.
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Old 12-05-11, 12:21 PM   #2
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Long ones may be vulnerable to breaking, when handling the bike folded.
for shipping and being folded frequently..

Dont know about yours, or the generalization:
What's with all the short and undersized rear fenders that come with most of the bikes out there?
Brompton, offering specifics, makes a flap of rubber, molded
so that it sticks out to catch wheel spray, on the back.
and a long flap of LDPE, on the front.

maybe a milk jug can provide some mudflaps added to improve
your particular situation.
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Old 12-05-11, 04:05 PM   #3
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My Dahon came with mudflaps on both fenders. Don't get much rain here so I can't say yet how well they work.
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Old 12-05-11, 09:16 PM   #4
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I think shorter fenders in genera,l as well as on folding bikes themselves, are due to the following as well:
  • Price considerations by the manufacturers themselves. Shorter fenders use less metal/plastic and other materials which make up the fenders. Hence shorter fenders.
  • Style. I remember the old Chicago made Schwinn Stingrays. They featured the short cropped racy fenders e sporting the stylish curved up rear end fender that ended at the top of the rear section of the tire. Now that was snazzy.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 12-05-11 at 09:19 PM.
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Old 12-06-11, 05:40 AM   #5
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Bobbed fenders?
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Old 12-06-11, 07:01 AM   #6
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The Swift's rear wheel slides out backwards and a full mudguard gets in the way. I have fitted shorter Dahon guards which have a mud flap to catch most of the spray.

Last edited by Paul Braithwait; 12-06-11 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 12-06-11, 07:41 AM   #7
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my dahon stock sks fenders work flawlessly. they are the ones with the mud flaps.
Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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Old 12-06-11, 09:01 AM   #8
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longer fenders are usually much better than shorter fenders.... but it is a question of where the wheel is and how fast you going....
on a "big" bike the rear wheel is a couple inches away from your butt .... on a folder not so much ....
the rear mudflap on the Dahon fenders curved out somewhat a little... a couple degrees " cover" a huge section otherwise needed to be protected by a longer fender. I think mudflapps can be added to other fenders as well, to make them surprisingly more capable.
I havent heard a lot of squabble about the length of those fenders... actually the OP is the first one to say something I remember anyhow.
I guess if its wet it also rains and you get wet from the top as well.... ( thats why my bike doesnt have fenders at all )
(arguably i really only ride when the weather is somewhat nice and I dont commute to work, when fenders are indeed important to have)

my answer would be to slow down a couple clicks on wet streets and the fenders will be enough to keep the roadgrime away from you...

Dahon : Freedom Unfolds
Tern : all about the ride
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Old 12-06-11, 10:25 AM   #9
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In my very limited experience, short fenders are a problem only for a rider trailing close behind the bicycle, not the rider on the seat above the fenders. A short rear fender allows an annoying upshot of spray behind the bicycle.
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Old 12-06-11, 04:07 PM   #10
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I have ridden enough with and without mudguards to know they make a big difference:

1. For the front, it sprays back and up. Your feet and drivetrain cops it. It is almost impossible to avoid this one though, even with mudguards. But at least you won't get sodden with dirty (and I mean DIRTY) water on your chest area.
2. For the front, it also sprays forwards and up, and because of forwards motion, you ride right into it ending up with liberal amounts on your face. What with dog excrement etc etc on the roads, I definitely don't want any of that on my face.
3. For the back, you get the wet bum and if you use a leather saddle, a wet saddle which is fatal to the saddle if ridden like that.

The wheel size is irrelevant, I have found. But the wider tyres typically used on folding bikes pick up a lot more water, so there is actually more water being sprayed. For the occasional short wet ride without mudguards, OK. But for extended riding times in rain, forget it.
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Old 12-17-11, 08:07 PM   #11
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I mostly ride in urban settings. My experience was that the fender length didn't make much difference in the rain because I got splashed by cars, buses, and trucks anyway. For city riders, IMHO, the main purpose of fenders is to shield the bike from road grimes and water puddles. In such cases the determinant of ideal fender length would most likely to be how "dirty" your regular routes are. For instance, when I lived in NY I had full-length fenders on:

After moving to SF, I found that short fenders were good enough for my needs:

(BTW, these delightful wooden fenders are handcrafted by Mr. Pual Sykes. Thank you Paul.)
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